Living in a democratic society is a privilege, and therefore every citizen must contribute to the efforts to prevent its deterioration into an authoritarian state. It is essential to understand the characteristics of authoritarian rules of the past because it can help make better political decisions. Moreover, comparing the examples of communist and fascist dictatorships to the current democratic systems can highlight certain areas of concern.
Communism and fascism are viewed as regimes which shared many similarities, yet they also had significant differences. One of them is the approach to managing the economy. Communist regimes have a command economy, which means complete state ownership of the means of production (Wetherly, 2017). While fascism usually implies state capitalism, a balance between the free market and government control of the economy. Additionally, private property under communism is banned and kept under fascism. Finally, the ultimate goal of communism is a stateless society, while for fascism, a state is the greatest good.
Yet, fascist regimes themselves had variations depending on the country. For instance, in Italy, fascists embraced a class-based society, while in Germany, under fascism, people of the master race were considered equal (Allenm & Rose, 2018). Another difference lies in the fervent antisemitism demonstrated by German fascism, which was not the case with the Italian one.
Trusting political leaders is a personal issue, and largely it stems from blind faith. The notion of an echo chamber, a reinforcement of one’s beliefs due to exposure to the same, has come to prominence in recent years and has amplified people’s unconditional allegiance to their political heroes (Cota et al., 2019). Therefore, it is possible to say that trusting political leaders is comparable to being religious because it always entails hoping that the politicians will solve all the problems. Yet, despite their blind belief, people in democratic societies are guaranteed their right to freedom of speech (Fredman, 2018). It means that when individuals are not satisfied with the current political leaders, they can openly criticize them without fearing for their safety, unlike under communism and fascism.
Democracy is not protected against transforming into authoritarian rule, and citizens have to prevent it by keeping the leadership in check. Examples of the past communist and fascist regimes can help people understand the potential areas of concern. Freedom of speech is one of the key elements which ensure the stability of democracy.
Allenm, R., & Rose, D. (2018). History of Europe. Scientific e-Resources.
Cota, W., Ferreira, S.C., Pastor-Satorras, R., & Starnini, M. (2019). Quantifying echo chamber effects in information spreading over political communication networks. EPJ Data Science, 8, 1–13. Web.
Fredman, S. (2018). Comparative human rights law. Oxford University Press.
Wetherly, P. (2017). Political ideologies. Oxford University Press.